Spring Design Auction at Christie’s

Fornasetti trumeau

The intersection of art and design frequently raises many questions. Is art considered not inherently as important or valuable when it has a function? Or should it perhaps be considered even more important since it enhances the owner’s life on a daily basis on both a physical as well as emotional level. The answer to that question can be perused at the spring design auction at Christie’s tomorrow (June 10) where an impressive collection of modern masters from the 20th and 21st centuries are displayed.  I stopped by for a peek yesterday and wanted to share a few of the amazing pieces as they may not be available for public viewing again for quite some time. The entrance to the preview is marked by a monumental Frank Gehry fish lamp study in paper. Almost impossible to shoot, the fish a recurring theme in Gehry’s work, is overwhelming in scale yet light and ethereal in form and structure.

Frank Gehry fish lamp at Christie's spring design auction

There are a number of incredible Lalanne works including François-Xavier’s “L’Ane de Pompadour” from 1973, below. From an edition of eight, the bronze donkey desk is a wonderful example of Lalanne’s playful and organic approach to art. Their work represents the best of the blurred lines between fine and functional art.

Lalanne bronze donkey desk at Christie's spring design auction

Claude Lalanne’s iconic “Pomme Bouche” from 1975 is so charming and whimsical it would put a smile on your face every day.

Claude Lalanne Pomme Bouche at Christie's design auction

And I can’t imagine a more lovely or timeless centerpiece than the Lalanne “Heron” from 2009 of gilt-bronze and votives of pâte-de-verre.

Lalanne Heron centerpiece at Christie's design auction

Hervé van der Straeten is a favorite artisan among collectors as well as many interior designers. Two stunning chandeliers of his are featured in the auction. Astrolab, below, from 2007, in patinated bronze is strong and celestial, casting marvelous shadows,

Herve van der Straeten Astrolab chandelier

while Rosier, also from 2007, has a more delicate and earthy tone.

Herve van der Straeten Rosier chandelier at Christie's design auction

Chairs is one of the largest and most varied categories in the auction, from Carlo Bugati’s highly decorative hand-painted parchment over wood side chair from 1902,

Carlo Bugati chair from 1902

to E. & SV. Olsen’s circa 1950 sheepskin wingback chair shown with Jean Prouve’s classic “Swing-Jib” wall light from the same era,

Olsen chair and Jean Prouve light

to a pair of Marc Newson’s flowing biomorphic “Micarta” chairs from 2006

Marc Newson chairs from Christie's design auction

to a set of four Maurice Dufrene elegant Deco burl walnut chairs from 1920

Maurice Dufrene chairwith marvelous mother-of-pearl, ebony and fruitwood inlay detailing.

Maurice Dufrene chair at Christie's design auctionOne of the showstoppers is the Fornasetti and Gio Ponti “Architettura” Trumeau from circa 1970.

Fornasetti cabinet at Christie's design auction

With highly decorative surfaces, its genius lies not only in the intricate patterns but in the innovative shape – like having a mini monument in your home.

Fornasetti trumeau

Another favorite cabinet is one from 2010 by Kam Tin, continuing the tradition of Yin Zing’s meubles bijoux. Made of pyrite stone and brass, its highly articulated sparkling surface assure its jewel-like appeal.

Kam Tin pyrite cabinet at Christie's design auction

This vignette features a trio of beauties. The Marc du Plantier desk was designed for Parisian fashion designer Jacques Heim in 1936. Executed in several different iterations, this example is of painted wrought iron with a leather top. The stately gilt bronze sconces are by Domique from the 1930s with classic French deco detailing

vignette at Christie's design auction

and the mirror is French from the 40s with a very pretty verse églomisé design.

verre églomisé mirror detail

With my tabletop obsession, I couldn’t resist including a wonderful 177 piece “Bayonne” Puiforcat flatware service designed in 1924 and produced sometime post 1973.

puiforcat silver

My final inclusion is Edgar Brandt’s “Tree.” From 1924, this amazing wrought iron tree was created by the artist  as a commission for the Cheney Brothers Silk Manufacturing Company in New York. The artistic director of the company had seen Brandt’s work in Paris where they then collaborated on a show at the Louvre for a new fabric line inspired by his work. This tree is the largest example from the commission that has ever come up for sale. You can read more about it on Christie’s site in an illuminating piece by Department Head of Design Carina Villinger.

Edgar Brandt wrought iron tree in Christie's design auction

Perusing an auction such as this serves not just as a tour of beautiful decorative art but as a wonderful way to educate your eye. If you are in the city today, I recommend a quick visit.

5 thoughts on “Spring Design Auction at Christie’s

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this post. Wonderful to see these unique pieces of art and design
    that I would not be able to see otherwise. Really eye opening!

  2. All so beautiful, in particular that wrought iron tree! Thanks so much for sharing with those of us unable to attend the show.

  3. Those Micarta chairs are to die for, and the Maurice Dufrene Deco chairs just finely exquisite…without a doubt works of art! Thanks for the eye treat, I am swooning and pinning those immediately….

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